Peter Preovolos, APA, RIA, AIFA, PPC
President and CEO
A founder of PenChecks, Inc., Peter Preovolos has enjoyed a long and very successful career in the employee benefits industry. It began in 1966 at Wells Fargo Bank, where he was soon promoted to head up the bank’s employee benefit trust administration and asset management services. In 1974 he joined Southern California First National Bank as Vice President in charge of statewide employee benefit services. In 1979, he left the banking industry and became CEO of Alpha & Omega Financial Management Consulting Inc, a third-party administration (TPA) and asset management firm. In 1994 he and 20 other TPAs joined forces in forming PenChecks, Inc. where he was elected President of the PenChecks family of companies.
An acknowledged leader in the pension benefits distribution field, Peter holds professional designations as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and an Accredited Pension Administrator (APA). He is one of approximately 300 people in the U.S. to earn the prestigious credential of Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analysts (AIFA).
Since joining PenChecks Trust in 2002, Spiro has held several different positions, including Director of Operations, Director of Sales and Marketing, and most recently, Vice President of Strategic Development. This combination of hands-on operational and marketing experience has built a solid foundation for Spiro’s new role as company President, where he will focus more on strategic growth while continuing to oversee the IT, product management and sales and marketing functions. His new responsibilities will also include cultivating strategic partnerships and initiating the development of new products and services to keep the company’s service offerings at the forefront of the rapidly changing retirement plan industry. Most important from a customer service standpoint, Spiro will continue to ensure that PenChecks maintains its current commitment to delivering customized solutions and fast, personalized service.
Spiro earned his Accredited Pension Representative (APR) designation from the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA), and holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California.
James Hensel, CVA, CFA
Chief Financial Officer
James Hensel brings more than a decade of financial management leadership to PenChecks, where he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s accounting and financial activities. In his previous position, James served as CFO and led the accounting and finance department for TargetSolutions.com, the leading provider of online education for first responders. He has also served as a partner for Donnelly Hensel & Associates LLC, and as principle for Tatum LLC, where he performed business valuation analysis. As Director of Finance and Accounting for Nik Software, which offers digital photography solutions, James led the accounting functions for both the headquarters, located in San Diego, and the subsidiary, located in Germany, while providing reporting and analysis to Nikon Inc., a Japanese minority shareholder. Earlier in his career, he worked as a financial auditor for McGladrey & Pullen, LLP, an international CPA firm serving mid-market companies.
A former U.S. Marine who served his country for seven years, James holds a B.S. in accounting and a M.S. in corporate finance, with both degrees earned at San Diego State University. He is also a CFA® charterholder.
Mike McWherter, JD
Chief Compliance Officer
Mike joined PenChecks in 2012, and is responsible for managing and overseeing the company-wide compliance function. With more than 23 years of combined legal, financial institution and ERISA plan provider compliance experience, Mike provides guidance and oversight for all compliance matters, supervises regulatory exams and audits, and coordinates between outside counsel, management and the board of directors.
Mike previously served as Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at Memphis, TN-based First Mercantile Trust Company, a member of the MassMutual Financial Group, where he designed, implemented and guided company-wide compliance programs for First Mercantile’s Recordkeeping and Collective Investment Trust platforms. Mike graduated cum laude from Lambuth University and earned his JD from the University of Memphis School of Law. He has been an active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, Habitat for Humanity, and the United Methodist Church, serving two 4-year terms on the Board of Ordained Ministry at the Conference level.
Kevin D. Smallen
Chief Information Officer
Kevin has more than three decades of experience in the field of information technology, as a consultant and in-house manager for many companies. A well-rounded IT specialist, his background includes hands-on experience in technical management, systems architecture, program and project management, network design and deployment and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) methodologies. His previous employers include Kratos Defense, Advisors Asset Management, Peak Wireless and Microsoft.
At PenChecks Trust, Kevin will oversee the Information Services and Technology division while coordinating infrastructure and service delivery across the company. His responsibilities will include supporting all enterprise applications, data, communications, and information security. Additionally he will continue to see that the PenChecks Trust system remains on the leading edge of distributions technology by developing new applications and ensuring a stable and scalable infrastructure for information security. Kevin holds a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University.
Bryan Pruden, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
As the newest member of the PenChecks Trust leadership team, COO Bryan Pruden oversees the company’s day-to-day operations, as well as the Finance and Human Resources functions. Over the past 20 years, he has served in a variety of management capacities, including Controller and Employee Productivity Director for Intel Corporation, Vice President and Corporate Group Controller for SAIC, and COO and CFO for Celergy Networks, a national provider of IT services. Most recently, Bryan managed a variety of operational functions and was the CFO for Care Innovations, an Intel/Roche- backed company with regulated products in the healthcare industry. He led Care Innovations through multiple funding rounds and a period of high growth. Bryan’s operational and financial management experience in the technology sector fit in perfectly with the PenChecks business model of using proprietary technology to deliver fast, efficient retirement benefit distributions. Additionally, he brings the experience of managing high growth within a heavily regulated industry.
Bryan holds an MBA from Indiana University, and is very active in the San Diego area community. His service commitments have included positions as Board President & CFO of Solana Beach Schools Foundation, and a Board Member of Solana Beach Community Foundation and the Magdalena Ecke YMCA.
Vice President / Director of Operations
A member of the PenChecks team since 2000, Wendy manages and oversees the company’s operations department, which includes the trust, distributions and client services groups. Previously, she served as Controller of PenChecks for eight years, and retains various duties related to that position as well. Her broad experience gained from these two positions provides unique insights into the company’s structure, organization and operations that help PenChecks serve our clients more efficiently and effectively. Wendy graduated cum laude from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado with a B.S. degree in accounting. She has served as the treasurer for her local Little League chapter and elementary school PTSA, and currently serves as the president of her local high school booster club.
Vice President / National Sales Director
Scott brings more than two decades of sales, sales management, and business development experience to his position as PenChecks Vice President/National Sales Director. His proven ability to implement creative sales initiatives that deliver growth and market penetration while increasing new customer acquisition and existing customer retention is ideally suited to support the company’s long-term growth plans.
A top performing senior sales, operational and management professional, Scott has held a variety of sales leadership positions, including President of The IndusTRI Group, Vice President of Sales for Creative Communications, and Vice President/Partner for Queen City Reprographics / Resource Imaging Supply. In these positions, he excelled at driving revenue, growth and profitability for products ranging from endurance sport products to wireless communications and digital imaging solutions. Scott’s diverse background in B2B and consumer sales have given him broad-based expertise in sales forecasting, territory management, strategy analysis and development, sales budgeting, talent recruiting, training and development, and more.
Scott graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
Vice President of Institutional Sales
As V.P. of Institutional Sales, Steve works to increase PenChecks Trust’s presence in the institutional space by developing strategic relationships with financial institutions such as, banks, trust companies, insurance companies, and other retirement platform providers. He also introduces institutional solutions, such as our Abandoned Plan/QTA and uncashed check services, to help these clients streamline operations and reduce fiduciary risk. A former Director of Sales for DST Systems, Inc., a leading provider of strategic advisory, technology, and operations outsourcing to the financial and healthcare industries, Steve has more than 20 years of financial services and retirement industry experience. While at DST, he managed the sales team while also helping retirement plan providers design and execute communication strategies for third-party administrators, advisors, plan sponsors and plan participants.
A former Registered Investment Advisor and Financial Planner, Steve brings a deep understanding of the needs of financial institutions to the PenChecks Trust team. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire, where he was a member of the UNH football team.
Western Regional Vice President
As Regional Vice President for PenChecks, Tom Drosky is responsible for new business development and relationship management. He has more than 35 years’ experience in the financial services industry, including 20 years of banking experience in the areas of retirement services and wealth management. Prior to joining PenChecks, Drosky worked for several different financial institutions, including 12 years with CNA Trust as Vice President of Administration, and 11 years with First Bank as Regional Vice President and Trust Officer, where he was responsible for retirement services. Tom currently serves on the board of directors of the Orange County California Western Pension and Benefit Council, and teaches finance classes as an adjunct professor at the University of Phoenix. He holds a B.A. degree in business administration and an M.B.A. in financial management from National University.
Eastern Regional Director
Mark Russell is an accomplished sales executive with 15 years experience in the financial services/retirement industry. In his previous positions, he specialized in working with retirement plan providers to help design and implement communication strategies for their different TPA, plan advisor, plan sponsor and plan participant audiences. As a Regional Director for PenChecks Trust, Mark will work with clients and prospective clients to align our broad array of outsourced services with their retirement plan distribution needs.
Most recently, Mark worked as a sales executive at DST Retirement Solutions, where he provided innovative customer communications solutions for the defined contribution marketplace. Prior to joining DST RS, he worked for Dion Money Management as a Registered Investment Advisor, supporting companies and individuals on the Fidelity platform. Mark earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Management.
Southern Regional Director
Chip Davis brings nearly 30 years’ experience in sales, marketing, and corporate training to his role as PenChecks Trust’s Southern Regional Director. Early in his career, he served as a loan officer, loan processor and corporate trainer in the mortgage industry. He transitioned to the retirement plan industry in 2007, working as a sales account manager with SunGard Relius, and more recently as an account manager for FIS Relius. In this role, Chip worked with the entire spectrum of retirement plan providers, marketing Relius documents, government forms, and administration compliance and recordkeeping software.
Central Regional Director
A financial services professional with a broad background in retirement plan compliance, design, and administration solutions, Paul Kociuruba brings more than 25 years of retirement plan experience to PenChecks Trust. Having previously served in positions involving sales and consulting, direct investment advisory services, and back-office operational and administrative responsibilities, Paul is expertly positioned to help employers devise qualified and non-qualified solutions for today’s complex fiduciary and retirement plan liabilities. Prior to joining PenChecks Trust, Paul served in Vice President and Regional Director capacities for two national TPA firms, providing progressive sales and consulting ideas and working with plan sponsors, advisors, and financial intermediaries to maximize benefits and minimize costs.
A former owner of his own financial advisory firm, Paul graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with a BA in Business Administration. He is married with two adult daughters, and enjoys sports, outdoor activities, and spending time with family and friends.
South Central Regional Director
Laurie Kemp has more than a decade of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining PenChecks Trust, she held several positions with GoldStar Trust Company, a $2 billion division of Happy State Bank that offers self-directed IRA custodian, trustee and escrow/paying agent services. Her broad background in these areas includes sales and consulting within the retirement industry, working with alternative assets held in IRAs, new business generation and back-office operational and administrative experience. Laurie’s deep passion for helping others and her ability to develop and cultivate long-term client relationships are a perfect fit for the customer-focused role of Regional Director.